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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:53 pm

Scientists Discover A Potential Anti-HIV Protein In Corals

Whilst screening the National Cancer Institute’s extract repository, scientists discovered a new class of proteins from a feathery coral found in Australian waters called cnidarins. It transpires that these proteins are in fact potent inhibitors of HIV entry into T-cells in laboratory tests.

At a time when over 35 million people worldwide are infected with HIV and current treatments are not curative, focusing on the prevention of new infections is paramount in confronting this global problem. HIV has also presented significant challenges in the development of vaccines and none are so far available.

Although condoms are effective at preventing transmission, the fact is: not everybody uses them, and often this is out of the control of some individuals. The development of other methods that can curb sexual transmission are therefore an attractive solution to the problem, and scientists believe that these cnidarins may eventually be used to do just that.

After discovering these proteins, scientists purified them and tested them for inhibitory effects against laboratory HIV strains. They found that they prevented HIV from being able to enter T-cells at impressively low concentrations. T-cells are one of the main cells that HIV targets for replication. The proteins achieved this block by binding to the virus and preventing fusion with the host cell, which is a pre-requisite to viral entry.

Before the scientists can proceed with preclinical tests to find out more about the safety and efficacy of these proteins, they first need to find a way to mass produce these proteins without having to harvest vast quantities of corals.

Although it is certainly very early days, the scientists are optimistic that these proteins may present an ideal candidate for the development of topical gels or lubricants that could prevent sexual HIV transmission without encouraging resistance, which is a problem that current antivirals face.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Fri May 02, 2014 5:08 pm

New super-heavy element 117 confirmed by scientists

Atoms of a new super-heavy element — the as-yet-unnamed element 117 — have reportedly been created by scientists in Germany, moving it closer to being officially recognized as part of the standard periodic table.

Researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darmstadt, Germany, say they have created and observed several atoms of element 117, which is temporarily named ununseptium.

Element 117 — so-called because it is an atom with 117 protons in its nucleus — was previously one of the missing items on the periodic table of elements. These super-heavy elements, which include all the elements beyond atomic number 104, are not found naturally on Earth, and thus have to be created synthetically within a laboratory.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Thu May 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Bizarre Gas Planet Takes 80,000 Years To Orbit Its Star

The catalog of planets beyond the solar system has a strange new member, one which may make us rethink our ideas of stellar system formation, as well as opening new paths for planetary searches.

GU Psc is a fairly unassuming star. At a third of the sun's mass, and a tiny fraction of the brightness, it is not the sort of star that gets noticed. Being 155 light years away it is close in astronomical terms, but not close enough that it draws attention the way some of its fellow M type stars do.

Now however, it has turned up something distinctive, a planet orbiting 2000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, a gap so great the last time the giant planet was at in its current position the Earth was less than half way through the most recent Ice Age.

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Re: Science News

Postby Strict31 » Fri May 16, 2014 9:38 am



Scientists have also described this gas giant as "silent, but deadly."
Image

"You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,
And now and then stab, as occasion serves."


Edward II: Act 2 Scene 1, by Christopher Marlowe

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Fri May 16, 2014 10:24 am

Strict31 wrote:
Scientists have also described this gas giant as "silent, but deadly."

It is a Class J* planet



*Jude

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Re: Science News

Postby Strict31 » Fri May 16, 2014 11:44 am

sdsichero wrote:It is a Class J* planet



*Jude


Gamma Ray Burster, IMO.

Hah! Nerd humor! It is a difficult concept...
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"You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,
And now and then stab, as occasion serves."


Edward II: Act 2 Scene 1, by Christopher Marlowe

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Fri May 16, 2014 12:04 pm

Strict31 wrote:
Gamma Ray Burster, IMO.

Hah! Nerd humor! It is a difficult concept...

It is not logical…

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Wed May 28, 2014 5:45 pm

The Moon is Now a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Complimentary Wi-Fi is so commonplace that a business advertising its “hotspot” in the window seems somewhat passé. But a new hotspot location should impress even the most jaded among us: For the first time, scientists have demonstrated it’s possible to beam a wireless Internet signal across the 238,900 miles separating Earth from the moon.

The demonstration, done by researchers at NASA and MIT, means that future moon explorers could theoretically check in at Mare Imbrium and post lunar selfies with greater speed than you do from your home network.

The team will present its findings June 9 at the CLEO laser technology conference in California.


And if you’re fixing to binge on Netflix on the moon, the connection isn’t too bad, either. Scientists managed to send data from Earth to the moon at a rate of 19.44 megabits per second — on par with slower broadband speeds — and could download information from the moon at a rate of whopping 622 megabits per second. According to Wired UK, that’s over 4,000 times faster than current radio transmission speeds.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:30 pm

Just Add Water, and Silicon Folds Into Origami Shapes

Researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands have created self-folding, microscopic structures out of silicon nitrate. When the silicon is exposed to water, like magic, the flat cutouts fold into cubes, hexagonal bowls, pyramids and even Toblerone-shaped triangular tubes, all no bigger than a grain of sand.

The research team’s shapes could someday be deployed in a variety of biomedical applications where stealth and accuracy are desired.



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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:26 pm

Surprisingly strong magnetic fields can match black holes' pull: Long-neglected magnetic fields have an unexpected presence

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull, says a team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany. The findings are published in this week's issue of Nature.

"This paper for the first time systematically measures the strength of magnetic fields near black holes," says Alexander Tchekhovskoy, the Berkeley Lab researcher who helped interpret the observational data within the context of existing computational models. "This is important because we had no idea, and now we have evidence from not just one, not just two, but from 76 black holes."

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:15 pm

I guess this is a product of science?

SoftBank’s Emotion-Reading Robot Is Son’s Dream Come True

SoftBank Corp. (9984)’s emotion-reading robot Pepper is a result of time billionaire Chairman Masayoshi Son spent as a child watching the TV show “Astro Boy.”

Unlike the character from the 1960s Japanese animated series who couldn’t experience feelings, the 1.2-meter (4-foot) tall humanoid robot estimates human emotions based on expressions, the company said today. The machine, manufactured by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., will be on display at some of SoftBank’s Tokyo-area shops tomorrow and available to consumers in Japan starting in February next year.

Son, Japan’s second-richest man with with a net worth of $15.5 billion, said the machine is unlikely to generate profit any time soon and it hasn’t been decided how many will be produced. Pepper, which comes equipped with a laser sensor, 12-hours of battery life and will cost 198,000 yen ($1,930), can also make jokes and dance, the company said today.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:51 pm

Rocks Formed From Plastic Found On Beach

Every single piece of synthetic plastic that has ever been manufactured since 1950 is still in existence today, as each one takes thousands of years to break down. A recent study has indicated that plastic litter can become fused with rocks and other materials to form a new material: plastiglomerate. This material could very well become a permanent part of the geological record, forever marking humanity’s impact on the world. The results of the report were published in the journal of the Geological Society of America, GSA Today.

The material has been discovered before, but it wasn’t until it had washed up on Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach, notorious for its litter, that it was studied and identified. The discovery of the Hawaii sample was made by Captain Charles Moore of the research vessel of Alguita as well as lead author Patricia Corcoran. It is believed that human campfires melted plastic on the beach, causing it to fuse to shells, coral, and sand.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:01 am

Darn thought it was going to be an actual mechanical pancreas...

'Bionic' pancreas shows promise in diabetes test

Five-day tests of a “bionic pancreas” in adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes bolster earlier findings showing that the wearable devices can maintain blood glucose levels without the need for finger pricks or insulin shots. The device includes a glucose monitor attached to the skin that tracks blood sugar and sends readings to a smart phone. The phone then directs an insulin pump on the belt to inject the hormone or its counterpart glucagon as needed.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:37 pm

I wonder if this could ever help my friend with lupus...

Pig whipworm genome may aid to treat autoimmune diseases

The abstract:
The whole-genome sequence of Trichuris suis, a parasitic worm in pig, has been presented by an international team composed of 11 institutions from six countries. Understanding the genetics mechanisms underlying the pig parasite may aid to modify the human immune response that could result in better treatments for autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

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Re: Science News

Postby sdsichero » Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:54 pm

Interesting...

Liquid Water in an Icy No Man’s Land

By zapping tiny water droplets with x-ray laser pulses, scientists have gotten their first glimpse into the behavior of supercooled water in a hard-to-reach “no man’s land” of temperatures below –41 degrees C. Understanding water below its normal freezing point of 0 degrees C has been a challenge because it must be handled with extreme care to keep it in liquid form. The resulting insights may help settle a debate among physicists over water’s fundamental properties, including whether it can take on a fourth state beyond the standard three of solid, liquid and gas.


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